By: Donna Freydkin
As second banana-turned-president, Selina Meyer is a fount of foulness on "Veep." Four-letter words spew from her mouth with the force of an erupting volcano. And yes, her Emmy-winning, critically acclaimed character has left an impact on Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Who, for the record, is the antithesis of the egocentric, deliriously-driven, completely unself-aware Meyer.
"I myself am I a big swearer in life. My swearing has gone up to another level," says Louis-Dreyfus. "I swear a lot."
Meyer certainly has plenty to moan about on the fifth season of the HBO series, which returns Sunday. There's an explosive skin condition, for starters. But most importantly, there's the tenuousness of her new position as president. Will she remain in the Oval Office, pending the election results that resulted in a season four cliffhanger, or get the boot? For Louis-Dreyfus, Meyer's journey through the underbelly of politics is its own prize, regardless of where she winds up. When asked about the best part of headlining "Veep" for five years, the actress doesn't hesitate.
"I would say the most rewarding has been having -- it's a boring answer, but has been being able to work with this ensemble. I really love those guys. And to do it successfully has been very satisfying," says Louis-Dreyfus.
She's narcissistic and self-involved as ever, and surrounded by her retinue of enablers: Tony Hale as her hangdog assistant and Matt Walsh as her communications director. This season, though, you learn more of Meyer's backstory. No, Louis-Dreyfus sees absolutely nothing of herself in Meyer. And aside from curse words, not much of Meyer has rubbed off on her.
"I hope not. I hope not. I don't know what to say. There's nothing about her I admire but I sympathize with her," says Louis-Dreyfus. "I don't hate her."
The show now shoots in Los Angeles, after four years in Baltimore. The cast has only gelled over the years.
"The difference between when we shot the pilot and today -- we've had a lot of time together on this island. A lot of bonding. Everyone is away from their family. We spent a lot of time together living and breathing the show. It's teamwork that's paid off," she says.